LCI(s) 523 @ Sword Beach

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Dave Hosker, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. Dave Hosker

    Dave Hosker New Member


    My grandfather, William(Bill) Leslie Hosker, was an Able Seaman on LCI(s) 523 at Sword Beach and I am looking for any information, photographs or footage about the landings. He also served at Walcheren and Dieppe.

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    Many Thanks,

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  2. Spitfires of the Sea

    Spitfires of the Sea Stephen Fisher

    Hi Dave,

    523 was one of two LCI (S) that carried Free French Commandos to Sword Beach. Under the command of Temp Sub Lieutenant Bury, she beached at 7.50am on the far east flank of Sword Queen Red Beach. This is from the Naval report from Sword Beach:

    "No opposition was met until close to the beach. Craft touched down at H+25 (0750) five minutes early.

    "On touching down one ramp of LCI (S) 523, Tempy Sub Lieutenant J W H Bury, RNVR, was blown away by an explosion and the bottom holed forward. Disembarkation, however, was completed without casualty either to military or naval personnel. Craft was unbeached and proceeded alongside LCI (S) 527, Tempy Lieutenant C F Craven, RNVR, who on approaching the beach lost both her ramps. all troops were transferred to LCI (S) 523 who beached again and disembarked.

    "LCI (S) 523 was leaking badly on unbeaching for the second time but was taken in tow by LCI (S) 527 and reached the United Kingdom safely."

    Note that the text is a little ambiguous - it was the ramp that was blown away by an explosion, not Bury.

    There is quite a lot of information available about the role of the LCI (S) flotillas in landing the commandos and I'm sure some knowledgeable people here will help pad out the above narrative. You may enjoy this film of the commandos embarking at Warsash just before D-Day - 523 herself appears at 1:13 and sails right to left. There's also some accounts of the crossing from the French Commandos' perspective in Ian Dear's book "Ten Commando 1942-1945" (the chapter on their role at Normandy is 23 pages long).

    Hope this helps,
  3. Steve,

    The Naval Report slightly misspells the name of 523's CO. It's actually Berry. See D Day Landing Craft Markings, which gives some (not much) additional detail about the troops 523 and her companion 527 carried.

    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
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  4. Dave Hosker

    Dave Hosker New Member

    Old post but in rummaging through the attic these photos were found. I believe one is from the bridge of 523.

    Attached Files:

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  5. Dave Hosker

    Dave Hosker New Member

    Another image, my grandfather is middle row 3rd from the left. I am not sure on what boat this crew is for, possibly 523? Does anyone know?

    Attached Files:

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  6. ddaycolin

    ddaycolin Member

    Hi Dave,

    It's great to have news from you! I'm fine and I haven't really stopped doing research on the LCI(s) Flotillas.
    Sorry I haven't been much in touch. I looked at the 3 Photos you posted.

    1. 523.jpg is in fact a photo showing CO Lt Denis Glover on the bridge of his LCI(s) 516 (6 Commando 2 Troop with Lt Col Derek Mills-Roberts. The photographer was Ordnance Artificer G Moore who was on the bridge of LCI(s) 521 (6 Commando 3 Troop) immediately to starboard of LCI(s) 516. Moore took 5 photos altogether, one on the final run in and four on the beach. These photos circulated among the officers and men of 200 LCI(s) flotilla. I was given my copies by 1st Lt Norman Fitzsimon of LCI(s) 516.

    2. 523 2.jpg is great to see with your grandfather.

    3. crew.jpg The officer in the middle doesn't seem to be Lt John Berry (I have a photo of him). However, the encouraging point is that your grandfather is there. Is it the crew of 523? I'm not sure. I'll look through my archives and especially group photos of LCI(s) crews to what I can find.

    I am more than happy to pass you any information or photos and films relevant to LCI(s) 523. I knew a number of French Commandos who landed from LCI(s) 523. I corresponded with one of the crew, Stan Dorman, who sent me his story of D Day. The good news is that there is a film of 523 leaving the pier at Warsash on June 5th. A possible sighting of 523 and 527 at dusk on 5th June. A definite sighting of 523 and 527 at the lowering position together with all 14 LCAs forming up behind. On the final run in a naval officer on a LCT took a photo of 527 and 523 overtaking the LCTs. This is the photo:

    Attached Files:

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  7. ddaycolin

    ddaycolin Member

    I should add that LCI(523) is to starboard of LCI(s) 527, exactly as planned.

  8. Steve49

    Steve49 Boycott P&O...

    Hi Dave,

    I've been researching Dieppe raid for some time, especially the RN side of it and trying to identify the various crews of the landing craft taking part. Do you know which unit/vessel your Grandfather was with/on during the raid?


  9. Dave Hosker

    Dave Hosker New Member

    Hi Colin,

    Good to hear from you also!

    I would be grateful if you could pass on any information and photos you have on LCI(s) 523. Are any of the crew still alive? My grandfather would have been 100 this month so I know it's unlikely.


  10. Hello all. I am doing research for original photos (with copywrite permission) for a wartime biography about my father. He was FMR (Canada) and landed on White Beach and was subsequently taken as a POW to Stalag VIIIB. Photos of the post beach photos would be best and Stalag VIIIB photos as well.
    I have something that maybe of interest to you, a first hand account of a crew member ( Cox'n) aboard R-135, one of the few that made it back. It is a file of photocopied pages of the original manuscript which, Imbelieve, was never published.
  11. Welcome to the forum Jean Guy!

    I have a few questions to help clarify your query:
    Could you enlighten us about the meaning of FMR (Canada)? By White Beach I assume you mean NAN White Beach in JUNO Area? Also, what was R-135?
    Finally, does "post beach photos" mean photos of the beach shot post D Day or photos shot inland from the beach?

  12. Sorry, I should have mentioned that this was at Dieppe.
    FMR was the Fusilliers Mont-Royal, a French Canadian infantry unit.
    White beach was just to the east of the casino at Dieppe. Because of unexpected current and poor visibility caused by smokescreens the landing craft landed further east, under the cliffs.
    R boats were the LCP(L) or Eureka landing craft. 37 ft over all, 11 ft beam, plywood construction by the Higgins Boat Co, Detroit, USA.
    Yes, post landing taken on the march to the trains that took them to the Stalag.

    Attached Files:

  13. I was hoping one of those doing research on the LCI's would respond. The copy of the LCP account might be useful for their work.
    I am looking for images depicting the post battle events, not specifically FMR related. I have combed the Bundesarchiv, IWM and the French sources already and hope to find some in private sources.
    Thanks anyway.
  14. Steve49

    Steve49 Boycott P&O...

    Hi just seen your post reference LCP135/R135.

    I'd be interested in seeing the account of the Coxn, though he must be referring to landing landing the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders (QOCH) on Green Beach, because LCP135 was part of the 6th LCP Flotilla which in turn was part of Group 6 which carried the QOCH across. The FMR were carried in LCP's of the 4th and 5th LCP Flotilla's as Group 7.

    From my research I've identified three of the crew of LCP135.

    Lt C.W.R. Cross RNVR
    OS A. Kirby
    PO/M/Mech Deacon

    For information, the LCP's in your picture were all part in the 6th LCP Flotilla and returned to Newhaven, where that picture was taken.


  15. Yes, indeed, this is AB Albert Kirby's(RCN) account of landing the Camerons, however, but I have some corrections to your data:
    Lt Cross is not mentioned but S/Lt Leach was the skipper of LCP-135.
    He mentions OS J Hopper Crewman) and PO/M/Mech Herb Grear (Stoker) as the other crew members.
    Other names mentioned: Flotilla Cdr, Lt RF McRae and his crew R, Brown (Stoker), OS R Cavanaugh, and AB Campbell were all lost.
    Another Canadian officer; S/Lt Andrew Wedd, was wounded, DSC awarded. (Unkown craft)
    R-84: AB Joe McKenna (RCN) KIA
    AB Lawrence Lance(RCN) survived (craft unknown)
    Send me your e-mail address and I will pass on a file containing the account. it was given to me by his son Dave, also RCN (rtd)
  16. Steve49

    Steve49 Boycott P&O...

    Thanks, my email is:

    He must have been from the 1st RCN LCP Flotilla and attached to the 6th LCP Flotilla for Jubilee. The RCN Flotilla didn't take part, but a number of Canadian sailors were attached to Group 6 and Group 7 for the operation.

    I've not come across a S/Lt Leech, it's possible he was an attached RCNVR Officer. I hadn't come across OS Hopper or PO/MM Grear either, so I guess they were also attached from the 1st RCN LCP Flotilla.
    Lt McRae (Flotilla Officer of 1st RCN LCP Flotilla) was attached to Group 7 with LCP45, which was lost (as you say with all the crew) during the FMR landing.
    S/Lt Wedd was attached to Group 7 with LCP47, he was wounded during the FMR landing, but remained with the LCP and later attempted to land a signal party, for which he was awarded the DSC.
    AB McKenna was attached from the RCN Flotilla and was one of two crew killed when LCP88 was hit by machine gun fire off Blue Beach.
    OS Lance was attached from the RCN Flotilla to LCP136.

    Edit: Was your father Pte Jacques Nadeau (D62381) from FMR?


    Last edited: Dec 14, 2023
  17. Yes, that was my father.
    Interesting that you have the numbers of the LCPs that the FMR were transported in. In all of my father's notes there is no mention of the number of his LCP nor any of the crew. I guess he was too focused on the mission.
    I should mention that the account by Albert Kirby is completely separate from my father's story. Dave (his son) and I are ex RCN and we only realized a few years ago that our fathers had both been at Dieppe. He mentioned having an account written by his father stashed away somewhere and dug it out when we began to compare notes. There would have been no connection between the two, even while training.
    Another of my friends is the nephew of Pte R Vanier, also FMR who escaped from the train that was taking them from Dieppe to Verneuil.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2023
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  18. Steve49

    Steve49 Boycott P&O...

    Just rechecked my notes and I'd made a mistake regarding PO/MM Deacon, he was the mechanic for LCP136, not LCP135 as I'd listed before. I'm still curious about the mention of S/Lt Leech, all the documents I've seen referred to Lt C.W.R. Cross as being the boat officer for LCP135.



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